The Unspoken Rules of a One Night Stand

It’s always good to be on the same page.

Before Tinder, one night stands were a lot more difficult. You had to show up to a bar, be the most charming version of yourself and hope that someone was brave enough to go home with someone they’ve spoken to for 5 minutes. But the wonderful world of online dating changed all of that. One night stands are way more accessible and way more common than they used to be.

You still have to be charming enough to write a swipe-rightable profile and string a few sentences together in chat, but if you can bypass that very low barrier of entry, you’ll be on the train to one-night-stand town. But, once you arrive, there are a few unspoken rules that any decent human being should abide by. Make your expectations clear

While we may not always know that we’re headed for a one night stand before it happens, you can be upfront about your intentions from the get-go. If you know you’re only looking for something casual, just say so. That way you can avoid hurt feelings or expectations of things going further.

Message them before you even meet up, or if you happen to meet in person (but what are the chances of that? What year is this?) mention something before things go too far. They should be able to decide if it’s worth their time and energy to pursue something casual with you. If they’re looking for something more serious and all you want is a quick fling, they may leave the interaction feeling used. It’s important to be honest.

Say something like:

You seem like a really cool person, plus you’re super cute (which is a bonus). I’d love to meet you irl/ continue to get to know you, if you’re up for it. But I want to be upfront and let you know that I’m not currently looking for anything serious. If you’re still interested in going further, that’s awesome. If not, I totally understand!

Bring the necessary tools.

Make like the Boy Scouts and “always be prepared.” You don’t have to bring a survival kit, but there are a few things you should always have on hand when prepping for a one night stand.

1. Protection

Don’t expect that your hookup will have protection, always bring your own. You don’t want to be caught in the heat of the moment and need to stop because neither of you came prepared.

Pop a few condoms/dental dams/contraceptive sponges/whatever floats your boat, into your wallet before you head out. But, if you happen to forget, remember that most bar bathrooms are equipped with machines, or you can stop by your local corner store for emergency supplies. Make it part of the adventure!

2. Money

Don’t be caught without enough money to get home after the fun is done.
You may find yourself on the other side of town. You need to make sure you have cab or bus fare to make your way back home. Budget it into your evening expenses so you’re not stuck and frantically texting friends to come find you.

It’s not fun to feel like you’re trapped or reliant on someone (especially your date) to get you home. Practice premeditated independence and be financially prepared to get home.

Post-Sex Tips

Once everything is said and done, be sure to follow the proper etiquette so everyone feels comfortable.

1. Be prepared to leave.

If the one night stand is at their place, you should be prepared to gtfo, unless you’re specifically invited to stay the night (and that means without any prompting or hinting from you). There’s nothing wrong with staying the night and waking up together the next day. Maybe you could even grab some brunch. But it has to be what everyone involved wants.

Some people may not be comfortable having you sleep over. They may need to process the experience by themselves, or maybe they just prefer to sleep alone. No matter the reason, you need to give them their space.

Which isn’t to say that you need to run out the door as soon as the sexual activity is over, but you should stay aware of body language and verbal cues that it’s time to leave. Then collect your things (all of them) and don’t forget to thank them for hosting on the way out

2. To Ghost or Not To Ghost

I’m not going to lie. Being ghosted sucks. If you had a good time on your one night stand, but don’t feel the need to see them again, send them a polite text the next day saying just that.

“It was nice meeting you yesterday. I had a great time and loved learning more about you. That being said, I do want to leave this at a first date and wish you nothing but the best! Good luck with [add personal details about goal they were working on]. Take care!”

I know that the whole idea of a one night stand means that you don’t see each other again, but it’s still super classy to send a follow-up text thanking them for their time. And maybe something you thought would be a one night stand turns out to be something more long term. If you want to see them again, there’s no harm in asking.

One night stands can be an absolute blast. As long as you play safe and respect the boundaries of your short term partner, it can be a great experience. Even the ones that don’t go entirely to plan give you more insight into what you’re looking for in the future. So get messy, awkward & weird and enjoy each other in however short the time may be.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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Am I Being Led On? Experts Explain The Psychology Behind Breadcrumbing & Why People Keep Others On The Hook

Of all the annoying dating habits folks have developed over the years, breadcrumbing is possibly one of the most painful and confusing. If someone is breadcrumbing you, they’ll likely pop up at odd intervals to say hi and express their interest, only to disappear again shortly thereafter. It’s like ghosting, but it’s long and drawn out. And it just keeps happening.

In short, “breadcrumbing is a way of stringing a person along using text and social media,” Elisa Robyn, Ph.D., a relationship expert with a background in psychology, tells Bustle. “You might have had a few dates, or even been a bit serious, and then you wonder if you have been ghosted.”

But rather than straight-up disappearing, you might receive a random text message, a like on your Instagram photo, or perhaps a few phone calls here and there, Robyn says. It’ll seem like they’re making just enough of an effort to keep you in their life, without ever truly committing or taking things to the next level.

“The notes are fun and perhaps a bit sexy, and then they stop again,” she says. “You might schedule a few dates, but for some reason, they are always canceled and followed by a short text. You feel like you are following a trail of breadcrumbs, that someone is leading you on.” And you may very well be right.

Woman with phone

Shutterstock

So why does it happen? On one end of the spectrum, this breadcrumber may be attempting to let you down softly, Robyn says. Instead of being honest, or ghosting you, they choose to send sporadic texts, essentially letting the relationship die a slow and painful death. For them, it isn’t going anywhere and they know it, but they don’t ever do you the favor of saying so.

That said, they very well could be interested, but aren’t quite sure what to do or say next, hence all the confusing texts. “They are still ‘testing the waters’ in the relationship and want some space to do this,” Dr. Marni Feuerman, LCSW, LMFT, an author and licensed psychotherapist, tells Bustle. In this situation, you may have chatted about starting a relationship, but they are taking their sweet time, and stringing you on in the process.

Unfortunately, breadcrumbing can also be a sign someone is still in a relationship, and are texting you just for fun. “Often breadcrumbers are in a relationship they find unsatisfying and hope to enliven their life,” Robyn says, usually by sending flirty texts. They may take comfort in knowing you’re there, should they ever decide to call their current relationship quits.

When that’s the case, these messages might even be a way for them to feel better about themselves. For example, if they get rejected by their partner or have an argument, they might reach out to you as a way to boost their ego, Caroline Madden, Ph.D., an author and licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. They know you’ll text back and distract them, but it will never really be more than that.

Beautiful serious thoughtful and sad black woman with curly hair using smartphone on bed

Shutterstock

There’s no denying breadcrumbing can be incredibly unfair, so the more you can do to detect it early and cut things off before it gets to you, the better. While it can be tricky to spot, it can help to “watch for a pattern of canceled dates followed by several text messages and then silence,” Robyn says. “There will be just enough communication to keep you confused.”

If you notice these signs, “there are two options,” she says. “The first is to address this head-on and ask the person if they want to have a relationship with you or not.” Depending on how they respond, you can decide if you’re willing to wait and see where things go, or make a clean break and officially move on.

“Your second option is to block them on all your accounts and leave this unsatisfactory situation behind you,” Robyn says. If it isn’t working out, or you don’t like how this person is making you feel, call it off. Don’t text back. Block them on social media. Do whatever you need to do to move on, and protect yourself. Because nobody needs to be strung along.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

9 Brutally Honest Reasons Why You Never Heard From That Guy Again

These big mistakes had him searching for the nearest exit.

Have you ever gone out on a date with a man you really liked? You were certain you both clicked.

Things went well, and you went home hoping for him to call you for a second date… But he just kind of disappeared after that. Or maybe he trailed off, contacted you a few more times, then stopped.

When men disappear, it’s no accident.

What you don’t realize is that you may be putting out unconscious signals that are sending him running for the hills.

If you can’t seem to ever get a guy to call you again after you go on a date, it’s time to look at what might be happening under the surface you don’t know about.

Here are 9 brutal reasons why you never hear from guys again after a date.

1. He wasn’t that invested in you in the first place.

Sometimes, men will spend time with a woman with no real intention of ever having a long-term relationship with her. In those cases, when your time is up, it’s up. The relationship was never going anywhere anyway, and you’re better off without him.

It’s not always necessarily because of how you are, what you said, or what you did. It’s just where his head is at — or is not at, more importantly.

2. You hinted that you’re a baby ticking time bomb.

Any sniff of baby fever in the “get to know you” stages, and he’s out. Men usually take a bit longer than women to emotionally invest themselves, and if you lay all that baby stuff on them too soon, you can fall into the mistake of putting too much pressure on the relationship. It’ll freak him out.

When a man decides to go out with you, it’s because he’s thinking about how you will make his life better and more fun initially. A baby-obsessed woman can scare the even most loyal man away.

3. You mentioned that you want to get married — soon.

This is a bit like the baby ticking time bomb and just as lethal. If a man hears about what sort of flowers you want at your wedding day or who might get an invitation before he’s emotionally invested, he’ll run for cover.

Avoid this one like the plague, and save the wedding conversations for a later date. Because if he’s a commitment-phobe, this is sure to get rid of him.

4. You acted like one of the guys.

Men love women because of what women can offer that a man does not possess himself. Women who play games, act like they don’t need him, or have the “I can do it myself” mentality sometimes come across masculine in their behavior.

Acting this way is unattractive to men and will plummet his attraction to you to below zero.

5. You emasculated him.

Men want a woman who makes him feel good about himself. He wants a woman who brings out the best version of him. If you do the opposite, then you’re heading in the wrong direction.

Men like to feel like the man in the relationship. They need to feel needed. They need to feel wanted and desired by you.

So, pay attention to how you treat him or act around him. Is your attitude and behavior making him feel good?

Men like to do nice things for you, so let him — even if you feel like you could do it all by yourself. It’s food for the soul to a man when he can provide, protect, and take care of you.

6. You did all the work.

Men aren’t attracted to a woman who asks him out, calls him, texts him, and then dictates the terms of the relationship to make sure he won’t run away.

He’ll tolerate it, but he probably isn’t as invested in the outcome as you are.

7. Dating you was too much like hard work.

Being hard and independent can sometimes be a turn-off to men. How can he fit in when you’re always too busy and too hard to accept love, kindness, and adoration?

If you feel your hard side is letting you down, maybe it’s time to lighten up and let him in.

8. He has his own issues.

Understand that sometimes men disappear because of their own stuff. Maybe he just got out of a relationship and is getting back on his feet, or love burned him in the past and he can’t face another relationship right now.

Maybe his ex was controlling in his last relationship, and now he just wants to enjoy his freedom. This is the most dangerous guy to lurk with.

Although these men can come across as a “good guy with potential,” there’s a catch: He’s not in the right space to give you what you need. You must let him go if he’s not stepping up as the kind of boyfriend you need.

9. Your “crazy chick” side came out.

You’re confident until you get him, then all your insecurities and self-doubt come out to play. You get jealous, start fights, or create a drama.

You’ll do anything to sabotage that relationship, and the more you love him and the better he treats you, the worse it gets. Remember, this behavior is getting you nowhere. Keep the crazy chick at bay.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Why Modern Dating Sucks

Introduction

Why does dating nowadays suck so much? If you’ve ever had this question or wondered how your parents managed to meet someone they liked enough to marry, you’re not alone. If the end of your twenties is approaching, or has come and gone, and you’re still single, congratulations! You are, in all likelihood, a hopeless romantic who is more than deserving of the relationship you crave. I write this in hopes of helping you understand why your dating life so far has completely sucked. Maybe understanding will help you turn the tide and meet the love of your life! If so, don’t forget to invite me to the wedding.

If you are someone who found your husband or wife on Tinder or Plenty of Fish, this article is not for you (but I’m happy for you). I realize there are always exceptions, and nothing is black or white, but I only have my perspective. To be fair, an instance of organically meeting someone is included in this consideration. It doesn’t seem to matter how the meeting occurred – the behavior and character of relationship was essentially the same in my experience. It completely sucked! Read on to find out why.

The charming days of your beau calling your landline phone and having to speak to your mother first are long gone.
The charming days of your beau calling your landline phone and having to speak to your mother first are long gone. | Source

Real and Meaningful Communication Has Become a Rarity

I love technology and the ability to e-mail and text. I prefer texting to talking aloud. I have always been a quiet but expressive person, and despite my soft-spoken nature, I still like to communicate in ways that resonate with me. I am not much of a talker, but I have always been a writer. It is primarily through my writing voice that I touch other souls and let them know what’s happening inside my head.

I see ads for Tinder or other dating apps where two people communicate purely by emojis, and it disgusts me. After my mom passed away, as I was going through her house, I found a Sephora box full of love letters in my room that I had kept from guys I dated during my school years. It was sad when I realized that my boyfriend in my junior year of high school had more game than the guys I’ve seen more recently, since my mid-twenties. My high school boyfriend wrote me letters of several pages where he would talk about his day or where he wanted to take me on a date. They were sweet, innocent expressions of love where he shared what was going through his mind and how he was feeling.

While I do my best to communicate meaningfully through text, that’s not everybody, if my few experiences with guys are an accurate representation of the rest of them in the dating pool. The lack of communication affects not only the phone and text, but real life as well. I find myself wondering if it started with texting.

I understand the dread factor that a ringing phone can evoke, but at least when we had no choice but to call the other person, we held on to our communication skills and consideration for the human being on the other side of the line. It was easier to pick up on how the other person felt through their tone of voice, and there was not so much evasive behavior as there can be these days when most communication is via text. In my school days (the days of landline phones), yes, sometimes it could be really awkward when conversations were more difficult or heading toward a breakup, but at least we still had to communicate enough to get that sense of closure if things were over. Or if things were going well, we knew that better too.

When you text, especially if you haven’t met in-person yet, you’re less of a human being to the other person. They feel like they can say anything they want, as indicated by some of the horror stories people on dating apps have shared.

Rather than using text meaningfully, most people use it to hide.

It sort of makes me wish I had kept the love letters in that Sephora box, not for sentimental reasons, but to give me hope when someone can barely spell “cat” or uses emojis like hieroglyphs.

Swipe, message, meet, fizzle out, repeat.
Swipe, message, meet, fizzle out, repeat. | Source

Dating Apps Can Be Overwhelming, Used for the Wrong Reasons

The desire to be loved, truly and deeply, is universal across all human beings.

The problem with technology influencing romance is that it can be overwhelming and encourage unhealthy, attention-seeking behavior. Mix a dating app with low self-esteem, lack of self-discipline and self-control, and you have a dangerous cocktail that will damage yourself and others. On most of the dating apps I have seen, there is no limit on how many people you can match with at one time. Before you know it, you’re getting a lot of interest in your profile, which can feel very good at first. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes just another distraction. Your notifications on your phone start vying for your attention, even if you’re out with one of your potentials.

Rather than your focus being on the people you’re meeting and understanding your level of interest in them, it’s about the attention you’re receiving and how validated you feel. As a result, you don’t get a good sense of any of the people you meet. Connections crash and burn, or they fizzle out entirely for no particular reason.

Of course, this isn’t the fault of the dating app. It’s all down to how a person chooses to use it, but perhaps the developers putting a few restrictions on them (for instance, only being able to match with 1-3 people at once, so that yeses are used more wisely) wouldn’t hurt. I have been off dating apps for a couple of years now, so maybe this feature does exist somewhere and I’m just not up-to-date.

Having an endless stream of matches that never go anywhere or even remotely toward getting to know another person in any depth can create jaded, bitter people who are convinced that there are no good men or women left in the world.

We all want love, but we are going about receiving it in the wrong ways. We equate “likes” with love, and the more that we get, the better. But we don’t stop to consider that the “like” or “yes” on our profile was only a momentary response. We focus more on the fleeting approvals than long-term connections, and then we wonder why we feel so empty.

Has this happened to you, too?
Has this happened to you, too? | Source

It’s Too Easy to Run Away

When it comes to online dating especially, it can sometimes be good that we don’t run much risk of seeing certain people in our day-to-day lives. The ability to block people who are harassing or otherwise abusive is good too. For most others in situations that don’t work out, at least caring enough to give a reason for breaking things off or saying goodbye and sending well wishes is a nice gesture. Unfortunately, this is a gesture that often is missed. It can really mess with people.

A friend of mine met a woman at a speed dating event and felt like they were hitting it off pretty well. They were laughing and relating to one another a lot. At the end of the event, each person turned in a list of the people they liked and got notified if the feeling was mutual. When my friend learned that his lady of interest marked “yes” for him, he sent her an e-mail, then never heard from her.

Granted, sometimes e-mails don’t go through. But how many people hide behind technological mishaps just because they’re too afraid to be honest or have a challenging conversation? Why is it so hard to say, “Hey, I really enjoyed getting to know you, but after giving it more thought, I don’t feel ready to date anyone”? It would save the other person the unpleasant experience of obsessing over what they did wrong or what happened when things seemed to be going so well before.

When we don’t have much chance of seeing a person face-to-face, whether at work or a chance encounter at the grocery store, again, maybe they feel less human. It is easy to “ghost” and forget common courtesy, because we don’t have to confront the consequences of our actions. We don’t have to see the human, emotional side of the other person, so it’s like we forget it’s there or it’s easier to disregard.

The golden rule is drilled into us when we are children, but still, we manage to forget it.

Tips for a Better Experience

I have been guilty of all the above vices when it comes to dating, so I am not saying I am an angel or was never a part of the problem. But awareness is part of resolving the problem.

Modern dating sucks for many reasons, and this could be part one in an entire series if enough people enjoy this article and let me know that. It doesn’t have to suck, but we need to become more aware of the ways we’re treating others that we don’t want to be treated. We have to become aware of how we’re pushing away love or failing to love ourselves when we’re desperate for “likes” and comments on photos.

If you meet someone and really like them, let them know it. Pick up the phone and actually call them sometimes. Be communicative and express your feelings. This isn’t true just for dating, but for all relationships where there is a sense of disconnect.

Be open and know that it may take a few frogs before you find your prince or princess, but don’t get lost in swiping through an endless stream of profiles and pictures.

If you feel comfortable, please share your experiences with this subject in the comments below and what your takeaway from it all has been.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Digital Detoxing Is The New Ghosting. Change My Mind.

In the olden days (before social distancing), when a crush wanted to decline an invitation to hang out, they could claim to be “at work” or “busy with friends.” But now, amid a global pandemic, when everything is closed, and everyone is sitting inside, glued to their phones, the only way to ghost someone is by taking a digital detox.

While you’d think the embargo on public events might hinder one’s ability to make last-minute excuses, leave it to the gems I date to come up with new, innovative reasons for why they can’t make it. When dating relies solely on technology, the only way out is off.

After a couple of days of sheltering-in-place, it became clear to me that I was going to need more human interaction than my roommates were capable of providing. I’d been following a fellow creative on Instagram, and after liking each other’s quarantine-chic posts, I decided it might be time for a socially-distant slide into their DMs.

To my surprise, they replied immediately. They told me how lonely they were, quarantined with their parents, and what a relief it was to connect with another person. For the next few days, we exchanged messages, swapped GIFs and music recommendations, and shared articles we’d enjoyed reading. We’d take turns complaining, confessing our fears for the future, and offering suggestions of what to make for dinner.

I loved having a quarantine crush — someone cute to gab with in self-isolation who wasn’t my roommate’s dog or the Amazon delivery person. We found love in hopeless, contactless place, so as the weekend drew closer, I resolved that it was time to kick it up a notch. I messaged my crush asking if they wanted to FaceTime, aka the social distancing version of, “Want to grab a drink this weekend?”

I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

When I saw “Typing…” pop up, I began daydreaming about their response. Would they claim to be working up the courage to ask me out? Suggest we do a fun activity over Zoom? Ask for my address, so they could send me a bottle of wine?

But when my phone finally pinged, their response made my eyes roll so far back inside my head, I felt like I was riding Kingda Ka.

“Uh, sorry,” they said. “I’m actually going to ban myself from screens for a while, to attempt to become one with nature. Or something.”

That’s right, folks. Instead of hitting me with an, “I’m just not that into you,” a content creator for a digital publication opted to tell me that they were not planning on using their cellphone or computer for the foreseeable future. All to, presumably, get out of going on a FaceTime date with me. Casual!

At first, I tried to cut them some slack. According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, people often give phony explanations to avoid conflict or hurting someone’s feelings. When you’re not into someone, claiming to be “so busy at work” (or going on a cellular strike) can help cushion the blow.

But Dr. Manly also shares that lying your way out of plans doesn’t just hurt the people you’re rejecting — it hurts you.

“A pattern of telling ‘white lies’ can reduce sensitivity to dishonesty and lead to greater dishonesty over time,” Dr. Manly says. “Now that you can’t tell a ‘white lie’ about having another engagement, you have the opportunity to increase your honesty-based skills and personal boundaries.”

I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

Look, I’m all for giving your body what it needs, but there’s a difference between “I’m not using my phone” and “I’m not using my phone to FaceTime you.” I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

I get it: Telling someone that you’re not feeling them can be intimating. But instead of finding new ways to blow people off, perhaps self-isolation can be a time to reflect on what you want, what you don’t, and how to honestly and directly communicate that to the people you date (or politely reject).

When my crush posted on Instagram a few days later, I thought about calling them out. But ultimately, I decided against it. Instead, I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Digital Detoxing Is The New Ghosting. Change My Mind.

In the olden days (before social distancing), when a crush wanted to decline an invitation to hang out, they could claim to be “at work” or “busy with friends.” But now, amid a global pandemic, when everything is closed, and everyone is sitting inside, glued to their phones, the only way to ghost someone is by taking a digital detox.

While you’d think the embargo on public events might hinder one’s ability to make last-minute excuses, leave it to the gems I date to come up with new, innovative reasons for why they can’t make it. When dating relies solely on technology, the only way out is off.

After a couple of days of sheltering-in-place, it became clear to me that I was going to need more human interaction than my roommates were capable of providing. I’d been following a fellow creative on Instagram, and after liking each other’s quarantine-chic posts, I decided it might be time for a socially-distant slide into their DMs.

To my surprise, they replied immediately. They told me how lonely they were, quarantined with their parents, and what a relief it was to connect with another person. For the next few days, we exchanged messages, swapped GIFs and music recommendations, and shared articles we’d enjoyed reading. We’d take turns complaining, confessing our fears for the future, and offering suggestions of what to make for dinner.

I loved having a quarantine crush — someone cute to gab with in self-isolation who wasn’t my roommate’s dog or the Amazon delivery person. We found love in hopeless, contactless place, so as the weekend drew closer, I resolved that it was time to kick it up a notch. I messaged my crush asking if they wanted to FaceTime, aka the social distancing version of, “Want to grab a drink this weekend?”

I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

When I saw “Typing…” pop up, I began daydreaming about their response. Would they claim to be working up the courage to ask me out? Suggest we do a fun activity over Zoom? Ask for my address, so they could send me a bottle of wine?

But when my phone finally pinged, their response made my eyes roll so far back inside my head, I felt like I was riding Kingda Ka.

“Uh, sorry,” they said. “I’m actually going to ban myself from screens for a while, to attempt to become one with nature. Or something.”

That’s right, folks. Instead of hitting me with an, “I’m just not that into you,” a content creator for a digital publication opted to tell me that they were not planning on using their cellphone or computer for the foreseeable future. All to, presumably, get out of going on a FaceTime date with me. Casual!

At first, I tried to cut them some slack. According to Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear, people often give phony explanations to avoid conflict or hurting someone’s feelings. When you’re not into someone, claiming to be “so busy at work” (or going on a cellular strike) can help cushion the blow.

But Dr. Manly also shares that lying your way out of plans doesn’t just hurt the people you’re rejecting — it hurts you.

“A pattern of telling ‘white lies’ can reduce sensitivity to dishonesty and lead to greater dishonesty over time,” Dr. Manly says. “Now that you can’t tell a ‘white lie’ about having another engagement, you have the opportunity to increase your honesty-based skills and personal boundaries.”

I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

Look, I’m all for giving your body what it needs, but there’s a difference between “I’m not using my phone” and “I’m not using my phone to FaceTime you.” I was shocked to find that people can still be so committed to roundabout-rejection, even when they’re sitting in their sweatpants at home, baking sourdough bread on Instagram Live.

I get it: Telling someone that you’re not feeling them can be intimating. But instead of finding new ways to blow people off, perhaps self-isolation can be a time to reflect on what you want, what you don’t, and how to honestly and directly communicate that to the people you date (or politely reject).

When my crush posted on Instagram a few days later, I thought about calling them out. But ultimately, I decided against it. Instead, I did what they couldn’t: I officially pulled the plug.

 

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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9 Signs Somebody’s Keeping You On The Back Burner, According To Experts

It’s not always easy to tell when someone’s keeping you on the back burner. Do they have a lot going on? Are they just bad at texting? Or are they stringing you along while they weigh their other options? You may never know for sure, but there are a few signs a person isn’t invested or fully interested — and recognizing them can save you a lot of wasted energy.

“Being on the back burner means that you’re in someone’s life as a second (or third) choice,” Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. They maintain a relationship by communicating with you just often enough to keep you interested, but don’t show signs of fully committing. And this could be for a variety of reasons, including having you on standby should their current relationship fall through.

While it may not seem fair, “some people are fine being in a back burner relationship and accept that they aren’t someone’s priority,” Bennett says. This might be the case if you’re just casually hooking up, or taking things slow. And as long as you’re both clear about that, then it’s perfectly OK.

“However, if it bothers you, then you need to speak up about your feelings,” Bennett says. “In addition, it’s important to set boundaries. Usually, this means not giving time, attention, and emotional investment to people who aren’t willing to give you equal amounts in return.” Read on below for a few signs you may be on the back burner, according to experts, as well as what you can do about it.

1. They Take Forever To Text Back

Woman texting in her bed

Consider it a red flag if someone takes days to text back, especially if they don’t offer a good reason. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Everyone gets busy, so you can’t always expect someone to text back immediately, or maintain an ongoing conversation. But you don’t want to wait days for a response, either.

“Most people are with their phones all of the time,” Bennett says. “If you know the other person is free but you don’t get timely replies to your texts, it’s a sign that you could be on the back burner.”

Typically, if someone’s interested in developing a relationship, they’ll find the time to communicate — no matter how busy they get. So if they aren’t giving you the time of day, and you don’t like how it feels, it’s completely fair to move on.

2. They Never Make Solid Plans

If you’re on someone’s back burner, you might notice that they’re all talk when it comes to making plans. They might go on and on about vacation ideas, or claim they really want to see you. But if they aren’t setting solid dates, you have every right to wonder what’s up.

With back burner relationships, Bennett says, it’s not uncommon for the person to resist making solid plans. They might say they aren’t sure of their schedule. But in reality, they’re just stalling as they wait to hear back from other people, first.

3. They Text At The Last Minute

indonesia girl using cell phone in bed

If someone only texts late at night, you might be on their back burner. Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you only receive texts from this person at 11 p.m. on a Friday night, it can feel as if you weren’t their first choice for the evening. And you may very well be right.

One way to tell, Bennett says, is if they admit to feeling bored. While some people may find themselves with unexpected downtime and choose to reach out, it could be a sign they’re turning to you because they didn’t have anything else going on.

In these moments, it’s best to consider what you want. It can be exciting to finally hear from a person you’ve been interested in. But if the level of attention they’re giving you isn’t adequate, it’s OK to look out for your best interests, say no, and move on.

4. They Don’t Call When They Say They Will

If someone keeps promising to call at a certain time, but never lights up your phone, take it as a sign. When you’re on someone’s back burner, they’ll be flaky like this on a regular basis, Jaclyn Lopez Witmer, a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York, tells Bustle.

And when it comes to setting the foundation for a solid relationship, that’s not what you want. “If you’re on the ‘front burner’ or the top of someone’s mind,” Lopez Witmer says, “they are most likely going to contact you when they say they will and be as consistent as possible in communicating with you because they want to see you and have made it a priority to do so.”

5. They Reappear When They Need Something

Side view of thoughtful young woman with brown hair and smartphone in yellow sweater touching chin while sitting at desk with notebook in cafe

Consider it a red flag if this person only reaches out when they need something. Photo credit: Shutterstock

It’s possible you’ve ended up as this person’s go-to when they’re in need of help or attention, Bennett says. If they were truly interested in being your partner, you’d hear from them all the time, “not just when it’s convenient or beneficial for them,” he says.

Of course, you can still help them if they need something. But if you’re worried they aren’t viewing you as a potential partner, feel free to speak up. You can always ask where things are headed, and confirm if you’re on the same page.

6. Their Weekends Are Booked Solid

Unless this person works on the weekends, it might feel strange that they’re only available at very specific times, like a random Monday night. And you should listen to your gut.

“People generally use weekends for socializing and time off from a typical work week,” Witmer Lopez says, “so if the person you are dating doesn’t want to make plans with you then, you may start to wonder who else they’re prioritizing on those valuable weekends.”

It might very well mean they have a primary relationship that they’re investing more into, such as an actual partner, or someone they’re dating more seriously.

7. Everything Happens On Their Terms

Woman with phone at the public transport

If everything happens on the other person’s terms, it may mean your relationship is not their top priority. Photo credit: Shutterstock

A relationship should feel balanced most of the time, with both people making plans, and giving and taking equally. With back burner relationships, though, things can feel very one-sided.

“If the person only wants to spend time with you at the last minute or is only available to you based on their schedule, this is a sign that the person does not think of you as a priority,” psychotherapists Lin Anderson, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M and Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC, tell Bustle.

To gather more info, consider your history. Has everything always been on their terms? If so, every plan you made likely fit into their schedule, with little acknowledgement of your calendar.

8. They Don’t Invite You To Important Events

After a few months, it’s only natural to expect the relationship to progress beyond casual hangouts and texts. So consider it a sign if they don’t include you in social, couple-y activities, like parties or work events, Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle.

You might notice that they “consult you when they are making plans,” Jackson says, and that you only hear about these things after the fact.

If it keeps happening, tell them you’d love to be invited, and see what they say. It could be they just didn’t know what you wanted, and it might even start an important conversation about your relationship.

9. You Don’t Like How You Feel

frustrated young woman in depression sitting on couch and looking down

If you don’t like how you feel, it may be time to move on. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Sometimes, it isn’t about “figuring out” if you’re on someone’s back burner, but simply paying attention to how you feel. “The truth is you deserve to be accepted, respected, and loved for who you are,” Anderson and Sternlicht say. “Ask yourself, ‘am I happy in this relationship?’ [or] ‘Is this how I want to spend the rest of my life?'”

While the relationship may eventually progress to where you’d like it to be, it isn’t necessary to wait around while someone makes a decision. Express what you’re looking for, and be honest about your feelings. But if they don’t make any changes, or show signs of prioritizing you, it may be best to move on.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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6 Signs Of Gaslighting That Can Seem Like Innocent Behaviors, According To Experts

Gaslighting is an insidious, but unfortunately, not particularly uncommon, form of emotional abuse. And since subtle forms of gaslighting can often masquerade as being totally innocent, there are times you might not suspect it’s happening at all. Gaslighting is by its nature both incredibly confusing and difficult to spot. But if you are feeling increasingly unsure of yourself, or unsure of a relationship, it might be time to seek some guidance on what might be going on.

“Gaslighting is a manipulative way to create subtle chaos and make you feel like you are losing your mind,” Stephanie Campbell, MS, LMHC, of Blooming Lotus Counseling, who helps clients cope with toxic relationships and traumatic events, tells Bustle. “It undermines your self-confidence and makes you feel off-balance, which may result in your belief that you need your partner for survival.”

Simply put, Campbell says, a partner may habitually make you feel unsure of yourself or your sense of reality. It might seem like simple differences in communication or perception, at first, but overtime, it can really erode your core.

“Of course, miscommunication is not necessarily gaslighting. But if there are other red flags and you feel this is happening in your relationship, make note of instances that make you feel uneasy,” Campbell says.

If you are having major discomforts or self-doubts, reaching out to get some support and perspective can be a really productive option.

Below, some professionals help to discern more subtle, seemingly innocent forms of gaslighting.

1. They Tell You Negative Things Other People Say About You

Young Asian lesbian couple argue and turn their back to each other in the period of sad in the bedroom. LGBT couple sulky to another in the bedroom with a sad mood. LGBT lover emotion concept.

Shutterstock

It might be framed as being honest. But sometimes that honesty can be really manipulative, and is a tactic to make you feel badly or get you to do what someone else wants.

Michigan-based psychologist Dr. Michele Leno, founder of DML Psychological Services, tells Bustle that your partner might be gaslighting you if they often tell you bad things people say about you, and then accuse you of being insecure when you question what they are saying.

“Does your partner regularly tell you the negative things that others are saying about you? Partners may use this tactic to ‘encourage’ you to doubt yourself and change for them,” Leno says. You then might go through the process of trying to prove how secure you are, or even go so far as to change yourself in regards to what they are saying.

Finding outside help and perspective from people and professionals you trust can help you find your footing and see what’s going on.

2. They Suggest You Seek Help For The Problems In The Relationship

This might seem like a helpful or loving suggestion, but do pay attention to why they are suggesting you seek help.

“Your partner says, ‘I’m concerned and maybe you should talk to someone,'” Leno says. “At a glance, this seems like a well-intended gesture. However, not all partners mean well and some may suggest you seek therapy as a way to say, ‘Our problems are your fault.'”

If they are suggesting that you seek counseling, help, or outside perspective for problems that are happening between the two of you, or for problems that you are bringing up about them, this can be an indication of subtle gaslighting.

Ask yourself, how do you feel about the problems? How do you feel when you are around your partner, and what is usually the outcome of your attempt to discuss issues?

3. They Block Your Growth

Sad woman sitting in cafe, painfully experiencing break-up, loneliness, crisis

Shutterstock

Blocking or being unsupportive of your growth is another sign of gaslighting.

“If your partner is dismayed by your plans to change careers or return to school, or they are presenting ‘reasonable’ obstacles to discourage you, then remember that gaslighting happens in plain sight,” Leno says. “It’s easy to pull off because the gaslighter uses what they know about you, against you.”

While having someone who talks with you in a truthful and reasonable way as you try to work toward your goals is a good thing, someone who consistently creates more mental roadblocks on purpose is not a positive force.

4. They Say You’re Wrong When You Know You’re Right

Again, gaslighting is when someone makes you doubt your own sense of reality, psychologist Stephanie M. Kriesberg, who specializes in helping clients with narcissistic parents, tells Bustle. And this usually happens within the context of simple conversations.

Kriesberg says that a gaslighter might, when confronted with a plan you made together, pretend that conversation never happened.

“The gaslighter might say, ‘You thought I said I would go to your sister’s wedding with you? I never agreed to that. I’m going fishing. You must have misunderstood me,'” Kriesberg says.

Another tactic is changing the subject when you bring up something you want to discuss in regards to their behavior or your relationship. Notice if this is a pattern.

5. They Do Not Take Responsibility For Their Behavior

Pensive young African female is having breakfast in a cafe indoors of a mall or a food market and pensively looking aside while holding a cup of delicious coffee; a copy space place on the right

Shutterstock

Gaslighters make you doubt the reality of your feelings by making it seem like their behavior doesn’t count or they aren’t responsible for it, Kriesberg says.

Anytime you bring up something that is not working for you, they seem to sidestep having anything to do with it, and find a way to lay the blame or reasoning on someone else.

An example might be feeling upset that your partner repeatedly cancels dates. Their response? Talking about what a difficult time they are having at work.

If that is a common pattern of communication, Kriesberg says, it’s worth looking at. It can’t always be someone else’s fault.

6. They Use Virtue-Signaling

The fact that gaslighting is an “ambient” form of abuse suggests something is there, but you are not quite aware of its presence, reverend and psychotherapist Sheri Heller, LCSW, who specializes in complex trauma, narcissistic abuse, and addiction, tells Bustle. “Nevertheless, it’s infiltrating your subconscious like elevator music or subliminal advertising.”

One way the “ambient abuser” tries to get the upper hand, Heller says, is by pretending to have your back and being committed to your growth and well-being.

“They present themselves as benevolent and insightful, even altruistic,” Heller says. “Virtue-signaling is a tactic used by ambient abusers. Virtue signaling is when one conspicuously touts their moral values and philanthropic activities so as to garner admiration and cultivate a false sense of security and establish trust.”

Virtue-signaling conceals the hidden motive to get the upper hand. If the way your partner presents themselves seems out of step with how they act or communicate, or how it feels to be around them, this may be a gaslighting tactic.

Understandably, coming to terms, or even being uncertain, about gaslighting, can feel very disorienting. It is important to get help from an outside source if you think this might be going on. You aren’t alone here.

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.

 

 

Here’s Why You Got Ghosted After a Great Date—And What to Do About It

When Maggie first met Ben* on a dating app, she had no expectations—in fact, she’d been casually seeing a couple other guys. But the two of them clicked immediately. “The chemistry was off-the-wall insane,” she says. “On our first date we closed the restaurant down, and it escalated quickly. We got drinks a few days later, had some deep discussions about work and life and family, and spent almost an entire three-day weekend together.” The romance wasn’t Nicholas Sparks movie-levels of epic yet, but things were promising. And then…well, nothing. Total radio silence. “I texted him to set up a fifth hang, and never heard from him again.”

It’s called ghosting, it happens WAY too often, and it occurs between friends and romantic prospects alike. It’s so common it’s inspired a 2019 TV reality series called Ghosted: Love Gone Missing, in which two hosts track down a person who’s vanished from someone else’s life—without so much as a Sex and the City-style “I’m sorry, I can’t, don’t hate me” Post-It note—to sort out exactly why they did it. That premise is bound to appeal to the thousands of people who are checking their phones this very second, waiting for a message that’ll never come.

Here’s what an expert has to say about ghosting, why some people do it, and how to deal with the action.

What counts as ghosting in the dating world?

Ghosting is officially defined as “the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”

While my most brutal ghosting experience wasn’t a date but a childhood friend who dropped me out of nowhere, it runs particularly rampant in the world of online dating. Stan Tatkin, psychotherapist and author of Wired for Love, says that’s because apps have created a consequence-free environment—or at least, the illusion of one.

“It used to be when we dated people, we met them at work, or school, somewhere in their neighborhood, friends of friends, and so on. So our behavior would reflect badly on us if we treated somebody poorly, such as just disappearing,” he explains. “It’s much easier today, because people are more anonymous, and they’re getting away with more.”

Maggie’s personal rule of ghosting involves what she calls a “two-date cutoff.” If either party isn’t feeling it after two dates, they can slip away without explanation. “After date number three, you’ve invested a not-insignificant amount of time and energy in interacting with this person, so the least you can do is send a quick text, call, or email saying you’re not into it.”

it’ not about a quantifiable amount of time invested; it’s about how their vanishing act made you feel—even if you were strictly exchanging messages for a few weeks. “If it felt to you that the person just disappeared mid-sentence, and you sensed the jarring effects, then yeah, that’s ghosting.”

What’s the psychology behind ghosting?

The reasons people choose to abruptly halt contact—meaning, the rationale they told themselves to justify it—can certainly vary, since no two situations are the same. But as Tatkin explains, many believe these budding relationships are somehow less real in the age of dating apps and text-based communication, and can be treated as such.

Despite Maggie’s negative experiences as a ghostee (Ben was just one of several instances), she says the majority of men in her social circle insist it’s become a perfectly acceptable practice. “My guy friends maintain that ghosting is a result of us becoming culturally desensitized to meaningful communication while throwing things around in a digital-only environment,” she says.

From a psychology standpoint, Tatkin believes there’s often a deeper motivation—especially for those who are habitual ghosters—and it has to do with something called an attachment style. Attachment theory is a psychological model that aims to identify the different ways people bond with others, going back to their earliest interactions with parents as a baby. In adult romantic relationships, the theory goes, there are four main attachment styles that affect everything from which partners you choose to why your relationships end: Secure, anxious/ambivalent, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant (read more about each attachment style here).

Ghosting falls squarely in the realm of “avoidant” behavior, Tatkin says. “People who are dismissive and avoidant are more likely to ‘rotate’ people,” he continues. “Ghosting is another way of basically not having any conflict, right? People who are conflict avoidant would be natural ghosters, because no muss, no fuss—you just disappear. So it’s ‘good for me, and if it’s not good for you, then sorry.'”

The bright side? You might have dodged relationship challenges down the road, had you continued to see each other. “The group of people who are most likely to do this have a hard time with dependency, and with commitment,” Tatkin says.

Some people ghost to protect themselves from rejection.

Here’s where Tatkin blew my mind: Some people cease communication not because they’re commitment-phobic, but because they’re scared you’ll hurt them. “There are people on the other side of the spectrum who are much more afraid of abandonment and rejection,” he says. Those with an anxious or ambivalent attachment style may ghost as a sort of preemptive strike—either out of fear that you’ll disappoint them in the future, or because of a perceived slight on your end (regardless of whether you actually did anything wrong).

“If I was really sensitive to abandonment, withdrawal, and punishment, I may try to get even,” Tatkin says. “So in doing that, I would ghost you, and that would give me some satisfaction—the idea that I’ve hurt you in the way that you’ve hurt me.”

Try not to blame yourself if you’ve been ghosted.

Due to what psychologists call negativity bias—the natural human impulse to dwell on negative events over positive ones—those whose texts and messages go unanswered often wonder what they did to deserve it. “What’s particularly cruel about this, is that without knowing why or what happened, the person is now left with their imagination, which is more likely to be negative,” Tatkin explains. “They reflect on themselves. ‘This person feels aversion towards me. I must be ugly, I must be stupid. It must be something I said.”

Tough as it is, the healthiest thing is to avoid self-blame, cultivate the self-love you deserve, and keep it moving.

Confronting them isn’t the best option.

Yes, telling them off would be a gutsy, *possibly* gratifying move. Or, it’ll reopen the emotional wound, particularly if the ghoster acts cagey about why they did it. “To confront somebody who’s ghosted you risks further rejection,” Tatkin says. “So it would take a lot of courage to do that, hopefully with the realization that it’s not going to turn out well.”

Getting even post-ghosting isn’t the best idea, either.

Calling them up to tell them off may leave you feeling worse, and spreading the news of their poor behavior might not make you feel better, either. “Some people will make sure this person has a bad reputation, if they can,” Tatkin says. But that won’t soothe your rejected feeling. “It just sucks, because ghosting is an aggressive, cruel thing to do. There’s no other way of looking at it.”

Surround yourself with people who care about you, and reconsider your dating strategy.

As with an actual breakup, this too shall pass, and in the meantime, you’ll want to spend time with friends who’ll build you back up. Trying to meet new people offline, while taking a break from dating sites, can’t hurt either. “If I’m going to play on a field that’s anonymous, then this is going to happen, because people abuse this whole thing,” says Tatkin says. “If you can be just a picture and words on a screen, you can be dispensed with easily.”

Know that ghosting in dating is absolutely rude.

Tatkin will say it one more time for the back row: Ghosting is lousy. “It should bother people doing it, and it should bother people when it’s done to them.”

As painful as it is, Maggie’s learned this herself. “It sucks to be on the receiving end, but it gives me clear information on where to direct my energy so I don’t waste any days, she says. “Ghosting is a really great way to tell someone that you don’t respect their time.”

*Name has been changed

 

 

Oh Crap, Now We Have To Worry About Being ‘Soft Ghosted’

Just when you got used to the cruel, crushing experience of being ghosted, there’s a new flippant, vaguely awful dating behavior to get used to: soft ghosting.

What fresh hell is this, you ask? Soft ghosting is essentially when someone “likes” your last message but never actually says anything. Technically, they did respond so they can maintain plausible deniability that they’ve ghosted you.

Overheard LA is seemingly the first source to call a thing a thing with this one.

** Check out our Story on @overhearduber for a chance to win a $250 uber gift card. Funniest submission wins Two Guys. West Hollywood. ‍♂️ Overheard by @bunnylikearabbit #softghosted #overheardla

Soft ghosting is basically ghosting with a thin veil of nicety. It’s texting purgatory, whereas hardline, original-recipe ghosting is just hell.

In action, it might look something like this. This poor fool (OK, it’s just me pretending to get soft ghosted with my sister’s help) had no idea that a double tap was the textual kiss of death.

Admittedly, this is a small potatoes problem. But our behavioral patterns are worth a little introspection sometimes. What compels us to play exhausting games like this when we could just own up to our disinterest?

“The simple answer is, we are animals designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain,” said Chantal Heide, a dating coach who’s based in Waterloo, Ontario. “I see this kind of communication all the time with my clients. Today’s communication has changed quite a bit as we try to balance phone life and real life.”

Everything is fast-paced these days, including our versions of rejection. Soft ghosting, any any stage of dating, is an easy out. That little thumbs-up softens the blow of the inevitable slow fade out. (While also leaving the door slightly ajar if you ever want to pop back in ― it’s a clever strategy, you have to admit.)

Soft ghosting doesn’t exclusively apply to romantic interests, of course. You can soft ghost anyone: your friends, your happy-hour-loving co-worker, your acquaintances.

Maybe your college roommate texts you: “I haven’t seen you in forever, let’s get together soon!” You, not wanting to do anything of the sort, come in quick with a double tap. Follow that up with deafening silence and you’ve effectively communicated, “Eh, hard no.”

Naturally, the sting of the soft ghost is worse when it’s a dating scenario.

In her dating life, Kandie Joseph, a blogger who runs the site Think Like Kandie, has been soft ghoster and the soft ghostee. (She, like Joni Mitchell, has seen both sides now, but instead of clouds and “dreams and schemes and circus crowds,” sub in deadbeat dates.)

“Once, I was talking to a guy who I felt wasn’t forward enough for me and didn’t initiate enough,” she told HuffPost. “He kept asking me where I wanted to go but at some point, I just wanted him to decide. He finally asked, ‘How about Starbucks?’ Instead of saying yes or no, I just ‘liked’ it. I thought it was better than insulting him with a ‘no.’”

I’ve soft ghosted and I’ve had it happen to me, too. It may be the nicest alternative, it may be the weak man’s out, but in my opinion it’s always clear as hell what they mean. Ariana Wist, a graphic designer in New York

When she was soft ghostee, she was chatting in-app with a Tinder match. (They hadn’t taken the conversation to text, so it was a low-level investment.)

“He was a really cool guy and it turned into a pretty deep conversation on the meaning of life, but then he ‘liked’ my comment and never replied,” Joseph said, laughing at the memory. “I got the hint!”

Modern dating can be crazy-making. To get through it, you have to learn to take no for an answer and no answer as an answer, said Ariana Wist, a single graphic designer in New York.

“I’ve soft ghosted and I’ve had it happen to me, too,” she said. “It may be the nicest alternative, it may be the weak man’s out, but in my opinion it’s always clear as hell what they mean.”

Here’s how to stop being a ghoster, soft or otherwise (and how to not take it so hard when you’re the ghostee).

The first step to disabuse yourself of your ghosting ways is to admit there’s a problem.

It might be a built-in behavioral pattern for you. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality suggested that people tend to default to a few strategies when ending things.

“Open confrontation” is when partners are more or less transparent about their feelings and end things out in the open.

Others use the “cost escalation” strategy. “That would be like essentially making the relationship so terrible that your partner decides to get out,” Tara Collins, the psychology professor who wrote the paper, told Science Daily.

Then there are those who opt for an “avoidance” strategy. These people taper off contact, dodge requests to meet up and disclose very little about their personal life. (“Wyd?” None of your business!)

Soft ghosters clearly aren’t as cold or calculated as the cost escalation folks ― a double tap is actually kind of polite ― but their behavior lines up pretty neatly with the “avoidance” description.

Ultimately, the trepidation associated with telling the truth is understandable. But there’s something liberating, even refreshing, about being honest in a world of ghosts. (Or at the very least, telling a kind lie: “I loved getting to know you but I’m realizing I’m not in the right headspace to date rn. Will text if things change!”) Do that and you’re pretty much above reproach, Heide, the dating coach, told us.

“You might even sprinkle in a little about what’s positive about the other person,” she said. “And you should feel free to block anyone who isn’t taking the truth with grace.”

If you’re shaken over getting soft ghosted, try to take it in stride. Certainly in the moment, don’t jump to conclusions; give the other person some time to reply. Yes, we have the ability to communicate all the time, but that doesn’t mean we’re available all the time.

Maybe even ask yourself if you’re peeved out of a sense of entitlement.

“Singles sometimes feel a loneliness void that they fill by seeking validation from other people,” Heide said. “That can go wrong or turn to anger when that validation isn’t turning into the instant gratification we’re conditioned to expect with texting.”

Sure, it would be great if your date was into radical honesty, told you how they feel and didn’t waste your time. But at the end of the day, this person owes you nothing, especially after a date or two. No one “likes” to be passed over, but keep your head up; there are plenty of non-ghosting fish in the sea.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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